Back in October 2014, when we first started writing for our blog, Mark and I often spoke about what a ‘perfect’ day in retirement would look like. It would include where we would live, how we would spend our time, what places we would visit, and how in-shape we would look! (Both health-wise and financially).
However – in the past two years – a lot has happened in our world.
Many of us are coming to the realisation that our retirement dream is just that – a dream. Something that is elusive and perhaps not as attainable as we first thought it might be. We were looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses.
As a result – many of us may be confronted with having to modify or fine-tune our retirement plans. Rather than a luxury Winnebago in which to explore the great outdoors with, we may have to ‘downsize’ our dream to a small caravan, a camper trailer, or even a two-person tent!
Perhaps, instead of our dream of a free-standing, beach-front home – we may need to now look at smaller real estate, probably a street or two back from the beach, or even an apartment.
Life often throws a curve ball our way. The visualisations we always thought would make up the painting of our lives end up being quite different to what we had always imagined.
So how do we survive (and thrive) in an ever-changing world where the goal posts are constantly moving – sometimes due to changes in our own plans and circumstances, but often as a result of things which we have little, or no, control over These include factors such as our health, the economy, changes to legislation and – even more frighteningly – the political instability of the world in which we live?
The answer lies in being adaptable. It means having the ability to change directions and travel down an altered path when life dictates a move in a different direction – or simply when we wake up one day and make the decision to travel via another fork in life’s road.
For many of us the realisation is that we may not be able to afford the type of retirement lifestyle we have always dreamt of.
So – what are the options?
If retirement is firmly on the agenda (through either choice or circumstance) the option may be to reframe our retirement objectives and pursue a more modest and affordable lifestyle.
However, for some, we may decide to continue to remain in the workforce a little longer than we may have intended – whether on a full-time, part-time, or casual basis. If we love what we do; continuing to work on a little longer may not be a difficult decision.
Perhaps your dream has always been to start a business or do some freelance consulting work. Or alternatively – commercialising a hobby or passion you’ve always had that has the opportunity of delivering some well-needed dollars to the family piggybank.
Of course; continued engagement in the work place delivers a number of benefits. Not only does it provide an opportunity to supplement, replace, or defer drawing down on our super and other savings – it provides an opportunity to remain engaged with other people, to deliver services to the broader community, and to pass on a lifetime of skills to the next generation.
However; there is a word of warning!
If remaining engaged in the workforce, whether it be part-time, full-time, casual, or even voluntary – we must ensure that we love what we do.
As is often said; if we love what we do we will never work a day in our life!
So – what are your plans for retirement? Does some form of continued workplace engagement beyond the ‘normal’ retirement date have a place in your plans?